Giant Scottish hills
Some of our devoted readers may have noted from the day ten blog that the leg from Edinburgh to Pitlochry marked a rather challenging point in our journey. None of our body parts seemed to warm-up, the hills seemed relentless and no amount of chamois cream or excruciatingly high-tech bib shorts reduced any friction whatsoever. Despite a generally fairly gloomy day, we do need to mention a rather touching experience in Kinross. Noting that our brakes weren’t quite as responsive as day one on one of the steeper Scottish descents, we popped into Loch Leven Cycles to ask how long it’d take to replace some brake pads. Before we knew it our bikes were undergoing full tune-ups by the lovely Katie and John. Having told them about the reasons behind our LEJOG efforts, Katie told us about her 2 year old little boy bravely going through chemo at the moment. All a little emotional by then end of our visit, we were packed off with extra snacks and sparklier bikes, and they wouldn’t accept a penny in exchange. They also recommended the brilliant Heaven Scent cafe just down the road which also exceeded all our expectations. We can’t recommended these two establishments enough, please do swing by if you’re in the area!
After a hugely restorative evening with the Haggans and Al in Pitlochry, day eleven started much like all our other Scottish legs – with a 30 mile climb. What made today easier than the others was the incredible scenery accompanying it. A huge Monarch of the Glen fan back in the day (and excusing an early ski trip to Glenshee in the 90s), Sally’s first proper look at the Scottish Highlands did not disappoint. Nor did the lunchtime haggis roll or the miles of descent which followed the climb. We were finally getting the hang of Scotland.
Despite the wonders of this part of the world, day eleven was not complaint-free. We had headwinds that reduced what should have been a 20mph plus whizz down the side of a mountain to barely 6mph, secluded loo stops in unsuspecting farmers’ fields seem remarkably hard to come by and sometimes the village you are looking forward to arriving in to stock up on supplies is in fact just a hut.
The downsides were quickly forgotten when we finally reached Tomatin after 83 miles and were greeted by James and our latest supporting arrivals in the form of Lorraine, Phil and Fran who will now be with us to the finish line. And with just two days to go – bring. It. On!
Lots of love (still no sign of a deep fried mars bar)
Abs and Sal xxx